From one of the links: "The high price for the record-setting fish has more to do with the celebratory atmosphere that surrounds the first auction of the year at the huge Tokyo market than with its undoubtedly high quality." So basically, there are a LOT of news outlets that have fallen for the stunt. Hook, line, and sinker, if you will.
First a disclaimer or two -- I'm not in Idaho anymore and I can't vote. And I'm not anti-hunting or anti-fishing, but I do think trapping is an utter abomination in the 21st century.
All that said, I don't think IDFG and the legislative supporters have quite thought this through. The actual language of the Constitutional Amendment says the rights of hunting, fishing, trapping, "shall forever be preserved." The Amendment, which by its very nature will trump state statutes, could well be interpreted to extend to the habitat necessary for the fish and game to survive to be fished and hunted. Notably, the drafters exempted water rights, but not logging and mining, for example. So, between logging and elk habitat, it seems elk habitat wins every time.
Who knows what the Idaho Supreme Court will do with the inevitable litigation, but if I had a vote, I might vote in favor, hoping that unintended consequences become the law of the land.
Also, the property WAS on the USFWS wetlands inventory. The Sacketts just never checked.
George, thanks, but the fines have not been "assessed." And this is an important distinction in this case. There is a potential RISK of having to pay fines, the violator is on notice of the violation with the compliance order. But nobody pays anything until the enforcement action is filed in a court. If there's no wetland -- as the Sacketts appear to be arguing -- there will be no fines assessed at all, because the EPA will not be able to prove their case in the enforcement action.
It is incorrect to say that the EPA began fining the Sacketts. More accurately, it is "theoretically possible" to fine the Sacketts "up to $32k" a day, but such fines are extraordinarily rare. It is also speculation as to the "wide-reaching implications" as the Court could very likely keep things just as they are.
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